August 19, 2007
Maradona as Political Commentator
By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons
I'm hardly an America love it or leave it type. I have no problem with making informed, well-grounded criticisms of my nation's government when merited.
However, should I take seriously a multiple-rehabbed, possibly brain-damaged, ex-footballer who cannot control his addictive behavior or ignorant statements, whose sole World Cup Championship will forever be tainted by the fact that he cheated to attain a major victory in the run to the championship and who blamed his inability to defend the championship on the mafia, when he says “I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength?”
Here's an artist's rendering of Maradona's first training session of national team coach:
Fortunately, even the AFA has more sense than to give Maradona that job.
Still, you have to admit that Maradona has good taste in T-shirts:
Posted by: Josh G. | Aug 20, 2007 12:34:31 AM
Actually, I think Diego is just pissed at me and blaming the US. I bought his place back when the peso was 4:1.
Posted by: ex-pat | Aug 20, 2007 12:53:04 AM
Come on. It was the Hand of God.
Posted by: Jeff Fecke | Aug 20, 2007 1:34:19 AM
You guys do remember which country it was that elected Reagan twice and has had three terms of Bush in the last 20 years right? I'm not saying we don't have some great people living here, but how do you still have national pride left given how long it's been since the American political system went insane? I was born under Reagan; I won't give my backing to a completely broken system which has been in decline my entire life.
Posted by: Murphy | Aug 20, 2007 3:31:31 AM
I'm sorry Mr. Paul, but despite your disclaimer, your reaction to Maradonna's remark is, in fact, defensive, sensitive, irrational, and entirely beside the point.
Among the many disastrous effects of Bush/Cheney's reckless and deadly administration is the fact that many people around the world will hold the United States in deep contempt. That is certainly not some kind of new or surprising revelation; it's been discussed on the blogs for years now. And moreover, although we Americans know how many of us oppose all of the things that have happened, the fact is that they have happened, and in our name. Many outsiders looking at us will not and cannot be expected to be aware of our political distinctions amongst each other, and will direct their disdain at the entire country. Honestly, we don't need to spell out the reasons why many people around the world have concluded that "I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength", do we? Of course we don't like to hear it, and we wish that things never got this far; but certainly you're not surprised at the sentiment, are you?
And what does Maradonna's personal history have to do with anything? That is nothing but ad hominem argument. You could criticize his statement as being purely polemical, but your rants about the rehab and his soccer playing and all the rest, not to mention the cartoon, are completely irrelevant, and no less polemical. Haven't we learned anything from the "dirty fucking hippies" mode of attack against bloggers? How many bloggers do you think cheated at sports or snorted a line sometime in their lives? And what difference does it make?
As for Maradonna's history of using cocaine, what shall we say about the current president of the United States?
Posted by: Buckeye Hamburger | Aug 20, 2007 5:58:56 AM
So it seems that this Maradona person played football, then? Or soccer? And he had some kind of drug habit, I guess?
Posted by: Cyrus | Aug 20, 2007 9:59:22 AM
Don't worry, I'm not really as dumb as it sounds. But I don't follow sports, so I reserve the right to mock those who do, for some strange reason.
Posted by: Cyrus | Aug 20, 2007 10:02:07 AM
Many outsiders looking at us will not and cannot be expected to be aware of our political distinctions amongst each other, and will direct their disdain at the entire country.
Actually the only irrational comments are coming from Maradona and frankly, yourself.
So by saying that he hates everything that comes from the US, he also hates jazz, blues rock ‘n’ roll, the bariatric surgery developed in the US that saved his life, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O’Keefe, Alfred Stieglitz, cajun food, the Rockies, San Francisco, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, New York.
As for his personal habits, it goes to the issue of credibility. Someone who has persistently cheated and failed to take responsibility for his actions is someone with piss-poor credibility. Am I supposed to take seriously criticism from someone who admires a dictator who imprisons his citizens for the non-violent expression of their beliefs?
I don’t think so.
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 11:07:13 AM
Actually i think it's entirely reasonable to expect people to make distinctions between US policy (or the policy of whatever country) and progressive citizens who are working very hard against it. The alternative is to exacerbate the problem by creating artificial divisions between people who should be allies and should be working together across borders.
I am Canadian by birth and believe me, Canadian anti-americanism greatly predates the bush administration (going back to about 1776), and has absolutely no political content. In fact, there is a pretty clear inverse relationship between how much people bother to inform themselves about politics and social justice (in general, not just US politics) and how much they brag about hating and looking down on american people. Those who are politically active and informed are not hateful. I absolutely think that people everywhere have a responsibility to educate themselves and work for a better world.
Posted by: swimming | Aug 20, 2007 11:22:00 AM
btw I have also lived in other parts of the world where people *do* know how to distinguish between citizens and governments.
Posted by: swimming | Aug 20, 2007 11:33:14 AM
the "cheating" reference was not supported by a link. you have a reference for this? and by "cheating" do you mean simply that he failed a drug test?
(if so, piss off, wanker.)
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 12:31:14 PM
Testy creature, aren't you? Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with the rules of football and note that you cannot propel the ballinto the goal by your hand to score.
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 12:47:50 PM
Am I supposed to take seriously criticism from someone who admires a dictator who imprisons his citizens for the non-violent expression of their beliefs?
That would be the "Dictator" who was democratically elected and re-elected to the Presidency and who, having been illegally deposed through a coup d'etat and subsequently reinstated through mass popular action, inexplicably chose not to execute a single person involved in his overthrow.
That's some kind of "Dictator".
Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 20, 2007 1:00:11 PM
you gave no indication of what the "cheating" in question was, no link, no reference, nothing. i asked a question based on my best guess as to your issue with the man, which appeared to be that he uses or at one point used cocaine. if that makes me "testy" then cram it up your asshole sideways.
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 1:22:28 PM
yep rigel, that makes you testy.
Posted by: Korha | Aug 20, 2007 1:50:13 PM
Dig a little deeper:
The leftist soccer legend, like the fiercely anti-U.S. Chavez, is a close ally of Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
“I believe in Chavez, I am Chavista ... . Everything Fidel does, everything Chavez does for me is the best (that can be done)”
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 2:00:03 PM
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 2:00:48 PM
Sorry I didn't make that clearer.
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 2:01:14 PM
exactly. you were snoozing on providing the necessary background information in order to convey your point to those who might not be as well versed (or give a flying fuck, for that matter) as yourself in the lore of competitive sports.
congratulations, you're a journalist!
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 2:06:34 PM
I don't respond well to people who call me names. If you can't address me civilly, perhaps you shouldn't at all.
In any event, if one has the slightest knowledge of Maradona, one knows about the infamous "Hand of God," in which Maradona directed the ball into the goal with his against England in the 1986 World Cup. Since you're link happy, have a field day!
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 2:19:42 PM
"I don't respond well to people who call me names."
tough shit. life is hard. get a helmet.
"...if one has the slightest knowledge of Maradona..."
why do you assume that people who are reading a blog which is at least nominally about health care policy issues would have even the slightest knowledge of the man? furthermore, why does his purported drug use or stint(s) in rehab pertain to anything or imply that he is "possibly brain-damaged"? are you pulling a frist, and saying you can diagnose his neurological health based on tv appearances? what basis do you have to say that, other than a desire to use reckless inflammatory rhetoric?
you sat and wrote a post that consisted entirely of calling a man names, names that are completely irrelevant to your issue of his public statements or affiliation with chavez, castro, et al. why, then, should you be a pissy little bitch saying "i dont respond well to people who call me names" when you have just engaged in the practice yourself?
im fairly certain i know the answer already, but i'd like to hear your response anyway.
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 2:38:29 PM
I didn't call you a name. The points I made about Maradona are facts. Deal with that. That's my last word to you.
Posted by: Randy Paul | Aug 20, 2007 2:52:36 PM
right, you didnt attack me, you attacked someone who is not here to defend themself.
and "possibly brain-damaged, ex-footballer who cannot control his addictive behavior or ignorant statements" isnt an ad hominem (note the judgement involved in evaluating lack of control, "addictive behavior" and "ignorant statements") is an ad hominem attack worthy of Ed Anger from the Weekly World News.
nice one, chumpy.
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 2:58:55 PM
and "possibly brain-damaged, ex-footballer who cannot control his addictive behavior or ignorant statements" (note the judgement involved in evaluating lack of control, "addictive behavior" and "ignorant statements") is an ad hominem attack worthy of Ed Anger from the Weekly World News.
Posted by: rigel | Aug 20, 2007 3:01:52 PM
I have to agree with buckeye hamburger. You've responded to a poorly thought out statement by Maradona, with nothing more than an ad hominem attack.
The facts that he was/is a cokehead and used his hand to score an important goal have NOTHING to do with his credibility. But more importantly, why did you find this newsworthy? You obviously just wanted to rip a guy who made an ignorant but ultimately meaningless comment. If I'm walking down the street and I hear a homeless guy say something like, "9/11 was an inside job," I'm not gonna flip on him and say that he has no credibility because he's an alcoholic and got fired from his job. I won't pay much heed to his argument if thats all he's got to say.
The irony is that your criticism of his addictive behavior and failure to take responsibility for his actions/mistakes is exactly a critique one could levee towards the President whom the people of the United States elected. Yet our outrage is spent on washed up footballers?
As for your comments on his persistent cheating, I can only think of one occasion, "the hand of god." Furthermore your criticism of this play demonstrates a fundamental lack of knowledge about the game of soccer. This is not a criticized play, in fact this play is held in high esteem because he was able to get away with it. Any soccer coach, analyst, or serious fan would tell you that this was a great play and would only criticize dirty play (ie a play with intent to injure) something for which Maradona had no reputation. It is considered part of one's football "skillset" to be able to take advantage of the fact that there is only one referee on the field. Despite the fact that a football pitch is by far the largest sporting field for a major sport, there is only one ref and two sideline judges...why is that? Because football culture is one that celebrates the idea that "if the ref doesn't see it, its legal."
I'm a footballer, I grab shirts, step on feet, knock balls down with my hands, etc, whenever I can get away with it because thats how football is played. But football is not really the issue here. My credibility in other arenas is not subject to what I do on the pitch. And the notion that it ought to be is absurd.
This was a needlessly vindictive post about a non-story. A better story is how the steady loss of the United States' credibility around the world has prompted this type of visceral anger from so many. I have had, and I'm sure many others as well, the experiene of travelling abroad and meeting foreigners who tell you that they like you, but hate your country. I try to explain to them that American people are not reflective of the government's policy and usually they tend to agree after discussion, but given the extreme and far greater ignorance of many Americans to all non-US cultures, I hardly find it fair to be too critical of foreigners' ignorances.
Your point could have simply been: people should try to make well informed criticisms of the US, or perhaps explored my latter question about why the US has developed this reputation. But instead you chose to mock an easy punching bag for things entirely unrelated to his statement. This is the kind of stuff I expect from a Fox News Anchor. Well done.
Posted by: matt | Aug 20, 2007 3:03:12 PM
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